Alcopop-Policy - Youth Empowered Solutions

Sugary alcoholic drinks that are flavored
to taste like soda or lemonade
 Marketed to a young audience
 Girls now equal their male peers in
drinking rates
Teens Drink a lot of Things so
Why Focus on Alcopops?
How they are marketed
 How they taste
 How they are formulated
How an Alcopop Becomes an
Alcopop In Europe
Start as a liquor or spirit, flavoring and
sugar are added and is sold on the
market as a spirit
 Straight forward, no gimicks or
How an Alcopop Becomes and
Alcopop in the US
Starts as a malt
 The majority of the malt is removed
 Flavorings including spirits are added to
the drink
 The end product is primarily spirit-based
How did we get from
to here?
Tax Classification
With creative manufacturing, companies
were able to convince states to sell
alcopops as malts
 This led to cheap and available products
And from here…
to here?
Alcohol deregulation
The percentage of alcohol in malts used
to be capped in North Carolina and
other states
 No longer the case, opening the
floodgates for higher alcohol alcopops
The Timeline
The 21st Amendment: Ratified by the
states on Dec. 5, 1933
 Gave states the authority to regulate
Timeline cont/
In 1996 the Tobacco, Tax and Trade
Bureau (TTB) issues a ruling stating that
“A malt beverage under the Federal
Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act may
only contain alcohol which is the result
of alcoholic fermentation at the brewery.”
 This meant alcopops would be federally
classified as a spirit
Timeline cont/
2003: The TTB issues a further statement
clarifying its original position, stating that:
“[Alcopops] exhibit little or no traditional
beer or malt beverage character. …
Brewers … remove the color, bitterness,
and taste that are generally associated with
beer. … This leaves a base product to
which brewers add various flavors, which
typically contain distilled spirits, to achieve
the desired taste profile.”
2003 cont/
(TTB) issued its long-promised notice of
rule change.
 The release summarized the TTB’s
analysis of the products: Of the 114
tested, 105 contained over 76% alcohol
derived from distilled alcohol;
 95% have less than 25% alcohol volume
from fermentation.
Timeline cont/
2005: The TTB seems to ignore its own
precedent and establishes the so-called
51/49 standard
 The 51/49 standard: Up to 49% of
alcohol in alcopops can be spirits
Post 2005
The TTB itself acknowledged that its
51/49 ruling conflicts with state laws and
that the States would have to determine
independently whether to adopt the
federal standard.
 According to one research study,
conducted in 2005, at least 29 states
had classification laws that require
alcopops to be classified as distilled
Post 2005 cont/
Attorneys general in at least four states
(California, Connecticut, Maine, and
Virginia) have concluded that alcopop
producers are violating state laws by
marketing alcopops as beer.
 In response, alcopop producers have
embarked on an intensive lobbying
campaign to convince states to adopt
the federal standard.
States Across the Country are
Tackling the Issue
Through legislative or regulatory action
states have or are attempting to properly
classify alcopops
 Maine: regulatory change classifies
alcopops as low alcohol spirits
 California: In 2007 the board of Equalization
voted to classify alcopops as spirits.
Supposed to take effect in October of 2008,
but a law suit by the industry has stalled it
from happening.
States cont/
Utah: adopted legislation in 2008 to
classify alcopops as spirits.
 Nebraska: Law suit went to the state
supreme court to force the state to
properly classify. The court recently
ruled that these beverages do in fact
contain spirits and should be classified
as such.
The majority of States are Not
Properly Enforcing the Law
In North Carolina NC GS 18b 101 (14)
states: "Spirituous liquor" or "liquor"
means distilled spirits or ethyl alcohol,
including spirits of wine, whiskey, rum,
brandy, gin and all other distilled spirits
and mixtures of cordials, liqueur, and
premixed cocktails, in closed containers
for beverage use regardless of their
So What’s the Difference?
In North Carolina properly classifying
alcopops would:
 Reduce alcopop outlet density
 Restrict underage availability by placing the
products in a govt. run rather than profit
driven marketplace
 Increase the price of the product:
○ Now: 24 oz can is taxed ~12 cents
○ Proper classification: ~75 cents
Our Message
Reclassify because it’s the law
 Alcopops are costly. In 2009 they cost
 $207 million
 10 lives
 Nearly 8000 incidents of harm
In North Carolina spirits belong in ABC
stores, plain and simple
Moving Forward: Reclassification
Begin a campaign to place public
pressure on the ABC Commission to
follow existing law and classify alcopops
as spirits.
Grassroots Advocacy
 Use the resources; train your groups
 Our goal is 5000 petitions signed by July
 Send youth and adults to speak to local
health and social organizations (PTAs,
Lions Clubs, Rotary, health
departments, etc.)
 Get petitions signed by individuals and;
 Get letters of support
A Word on Petitions
This is not a legal or binding document.
This is not a voter issue. Whoever you
come across, young, old or otherwise,
can sign your petitions.
 This is a competition between groups
 Who is going to get the most petitions
“Town Hall” Meeting
Use the online resources to hold a “town
hall” meeting on this issue
 Leverage the federal money you are
getting to push for this change and
educate your local leaders and
Grassroots Advocacy cont.
Write letters to the editor and press
releases on the issue
 Set up meeting with local leaders:
town/city council members, county
commissioners, school board, etc.
Grassroots Advocacy
Send letters to the governor and ABC
 Set up meetings with your state
representatives and senators. Ask for
their leadership on this critical health
We will be working on setting up
meetings with key decision makers on
the issue and will need all of the
petitions and letters of support we can
get to make the case.
 Update us continuously. Use social media
to keep the campaign going.

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